No matter their age, retirement is on the minds of most people in the workforce. And employers are increasingly attempting to revamp their offerings to assist employees in their journey toward end-of-career financial security.
Kristin Andreski, senior vice president and general manager of ADP Retirement services, said she anticipates a future where retirement and financial benefits packages will be more integrated and more holistic.
“Retirement solutions in particular will be considered more comprehensively, along with debt management,” Andreski said. “Student loans are something to consider today, as the second largest debt category. The private letter ruling is hinting toward and leading to the potential integration of student loan repayment support and retirement. I think more and more of those things will continue to happen.”
Part of this integrated approach to financial wellness for employees includes support tools and education around the topic. Technology is the primary vehicle for this and its role will only continue to expand in the future. One element of technology that is being utilized now — and will continue to evolve — is the ability to personalize the experience for each employee, Andreski said.
“It’s about meeting the employees where they are,” she said. “Educating employees is not new, but I think technology has transformed our collective opportunity, because it’s allowing us to personalize the information. We can tell by how they transact that this is information they should have and it’s about serving it up where they already are. I think technology is certainly affording us the opportunity to serve employees better.”
While the technology, approach and tools around retirement are poised to change, will the key holder of retirement assets, 401(k)s, still be in play? Andreski said she doesn’t see that aspect changing, but there could be a few tweaks in their delivery.
“The conversation has been out there for several years on whether it’s time to transform. I think really the financial community — the regulators and employers — there’s more rallying around retirement solutions like 401(k), but making them simpler, easier to manage,” Andreski said. “There’s pressure within the industry to also make them more affordable for more employers. Employers are taking an interest in a broader financial wellness package, but I absolutely see 401(k) as continuing now and in the foreseeable future as a primary retirement vehicle.”
Aside from tools geared toward proper retirement saving, Andreski said employers are also exploring various ways to give their employees access to financial tools that will assist them in their present life. Tools that center around financial planning, budgeting and earlier access to pay are among the most commonly sought after, she said, and there’s also a push to accommodate nontraditional employees.
“I think there’s a lot of focus on the underbanked or underserved,” she said, “and making sure we’re including relevant tools and support for the entire spectrum of employees.”
RETIREMENT FUTURE ROUNDUP
Gen Z Focused on Retirement
Kayla Webster chats with Ashvin Pakash of Ubiquity Retirement about how Generation Z is approaching their retirement saving in this article for Employee Benefit News. In the Q&A format, Pakash asserts that Gen Z employees are more motivated, educated, aware and willing to engage with financial products that help them save for retirement compared to Millennials.
A New Perk
Employers are trying a new perk: matching student loan payments with 401(k) contributions, writes Anne Tergesen in this piece for the Wall Street Journal. Tergesen’s article takes a look at some of the companies across the United States that are targeting recent college graduates with a unique new benefit that will allow them to pay off debt without putting off retirement savings.
Trends in Retirement Income Planning
Ted Godbout of the National Association of Plan Advisors examines the different trends in retirement income planning based on a study from Ascensus. Among the trends in the space is the utilization of automatic savings models, which have automatic enrollment and escalation features that are boosting participation.
Kerry Hannon, who is self-employed, writes about the difficulties he and others like him incur when trying to save for retirement in this column for MarketWatch. Hannon explains why it’s easier to rely on employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plans and lays out several options self-employed individuals can utilize to feel more secure about their retirement savings.
About the Author
Brett Christie is a staff writer at WorldatWork.